Image Credit: Peter IovinoThere are some actors whose off-screen press makes you think you don’t particularly care to see them on-screen, but then you do, and against your will, you enjoy them. I think it’s time I admit it: I like Katherine Heigl. The fact is, even though her self-admitted need for a filter has turned me off at times, I’ve somehow ended up seeing not only Knocked Up, but also 27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth, Killers, and Life as We Know It. It’s because I’ve made testing my tolerance for romantic comedies a favorite hobby. The clichés that infuriate EW’s Lisa Schwarzbaum (who gave Heigl’s latest a D-), roll off my back. Sure, it’d be great if every romcom was When Harry Met Sally…, but most of the time, I just want to escape and see in 90 minutes the happy ending that has eluded me for 35 years. If I can imagine sitting through the movie again when it airs on TBS some Saturday morning before or after Something’s Gotta Give, then it qualified as “acceptable.” There are really only two ways a romcom can truly anger me: by having zero laughs (My Life in Ruins) and/or by not giving the leading lady’s happy ending the proper amount of screen time (SPOILER ALERT! I realize You Again was about Kristen Bell ruining her brother’s engagement, but since it wasn’t actually funny, I needed more romance, and that quick kiss Bell got during the credits didn’t cut it).
For me, Life as We Know It was acceptable — not just because I appreciated that the neighborhood was full of characters who find Josh Duhamel as hot as I do, though I’m not gonna lie, it helped. (The reaction of the teen “baby whisperer” when he walked into the room buttoning the top buttons of his shirt was the best.) Some critics have slammed Heigl for playing another high-strung heroine who is supposed to be successful and smart, but is somehow stupid enough not to realize that a bit of the baby poo — that was so smelly it burned her eyes — is on her cheek. But aside from that, Heigl makes this character relatable. You believe that even if she has a bit of a breakdown (and wouldn’t get her happy ending), she will pick herself up and be fine. That’s what Heigl does so well. Combined with her comedic timing (think of the film’s pot brownie scene, second only to Never Been Kissed’s among romcoms?), it’s the reason I have to like her.
Your turn. Is there an actor you don’t want to like (for whatever reason), but have to admit you do?
More for closet Heigl fans: